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Armato Bill to Designate 9-1-1 Operators as First Responders Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Recognizing the integral role of 9-1-1 dispatchers in emergency response, legislation sponsored by Assemblyman John Armato to designate 9-1-1 operators as first responders was approved Monday by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

Every day in over 6,000 public safety call centers in the United States, 9-1-1 dispatchers gather information from callers in crisis, which is later used to guide the response of law enforcement, fire departments and emergency medical services providers.

The goal of this legislation (A-3804) is for 9-1-1 operators to have a title that better reflects the services they provide.

Assemblyman Armato (D-Atlantic) released the following statement on the bill:

“Though 9-1-1 dispatchers are literally the first to respond to someone who needs help, they are not classified as first responders in the same way as police officers, firefighters and EMS professionals.

“As a volunteer firefighter of over 50 years, I’ve personally depended on 9-1-1 operators to help my squad respond to emergencies. Without their work, we wouldn’t be able to do our jobs effectively.

“9-1-1 dispatchers are first responders, plain and simple. It’s time they are recognized for their essential role in the emergency response community and for their noble work in diffusing crisis situations.”